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January 31, 2011
DS SolidWorks Sells Millionth Education License
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Dassault Systèmes (DS) SolidWorks Corp. today announced that one million SolidWorks® design software licenses have been purchased by educational institutions. Many millions of students at these institutions have fuelled their studies in science, technology, engineering, and math, and gone on to obtain rewarding careers in the design and engineering community.

The roster of premier institutions using SolidWorks spans all continents and includes: MIT (USA), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (India), Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Tokyo Metropolitan Rokugou Technical High School (Japan), Universidad del Valle de Mexico (Mexico), University of Cambridge (UK), RENATESENTERET(Norway), Tsinghua University (China), University of Manitoba (Canada), University of South Australia (Australia), The University of Applied Sciences Stralsund (Germany), and Lycée Technique Privé Saint Etienne (France).

“We want our students learning and applying science and engineering, not struggling with unnecessarily complex software,” said industrial engineering professor Andrés-Amador García Granada, Ph.D., of the IQS-URL engineering university in Barcelona. “SolidWorks gives students all the capabilities a professional engineer needs - including uniquely integrated Simulation software that we use to teach statics, dynamics, thermal problems, elasticity, and fluid-dynamics - in the most intuitive package available. As a result, students start learning sooner, learn more over time, and graduate better prepared for their
careers. At IQS, 70 out of 150 students obtained a Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) certification as a common requirement to start working on a final-year project for industry.”

Many students combine their learning with competition. “SolidWorks helps us continuously refine our 'Thunderstruck' robot's design for the Battlebots IQ competition, blending the best of offense, defense, weight, material strength, and sheer destructiveness,” said Senai Andai, 20, a junior-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). “The integrated SolidWorks Simulation software and intuitive user interface help us apply classroom theory to hands-on design, manufacturing, and 'field testing.' This is invaluable preparation for our futures as engineers.”

DS SolidWorks backs up its software with rich educational resources, including:
  • Robotics Tutorials that introduce basic concepts of robot design from one's first part to a complete assembly;
  • SolidWorks Teacher Blog for educators at all levels who use SolidWorks software for design and engineering instruction;
  • Anytime, anywhere access to SolidWorks, including on student laptops and home computers;
  • Competitive opportunities in Formula One-style racing, robotics, solar cars, and much more;
  • Instruction in sustainable design, a discipline gaining prominence among designers and or engineers; and
  • Certification to demonstrate solid design skill sets to first employers.

    “Our software is packed with all the sophisticated capabilities that professional engineers use,” said Marie Planchard, director of world education markets for DS SolidWorks. “We think it's important that students have easy access to these capabilities so they can bring the advantage of experience to their internships and entry-level positions.”

    DS SolidWorks' contribution to engineering education also includes a long list of sponsorships. One recipient is Assabet Valley (Mass.) Regional Technical High School, featured in the latest episode of the DS SolidWorks Web-based reality show, Let's Go Design. Students there are gearing up for competition in the National Robotics League using a robot they not only designed and assembled, but for which they machined the parts.

    Pittsburg State University Purchases 1,000 Licenses of SolidWorks for Engineering Technology Students

    Pittsburg State University in Kansas has purchased 1,000 licenses of SolidWorks® software to help students more aggressively tackle engineering challenges and prepare for their careers.

    The new licenses for the first time give every engineering technology student anytime, anywhere access to powerful design, analysis, data management, and sustainability software. The SolidWorks Education Edition software includes professional-class tools for stress, strain, fluid flow, and thermal simulation. Since students now have SolidWorks on their own laptops and PCs, they can eliminate late-night treks to the campus computer lab. The investment thus expands access to the software that Pitt State students find easiest to learn and their future employers favor.

    “SolidWorks is now our standard for introducing first-year students to computer-aided design,” said Greg Murray, assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology. “I've taught other CAD products for years and have found SolidWorks much easier to use, much more intuitive, and much more effective in making students productive sooner. They're eating this stuff up rather than asking for help. SolidWorks has helped our students keep up with leaders in industry, and prepare for a rewarding future.”

    The Pittsburg, Kan., university expanded access to SolidWorks after the department of engineering technology surveyed area manufacturers and industry representatives on its advisory board. SolidWorks was found to be the most widely used 3D design software among prospective employers. It was also the most frequently sought background in online job sites like CareerBuilder.com®. This research, conducted by Murray and Engineering Technology Chairman Tim Thomas, was presented to the 2010 Midwest Section Conference of the American Society of Engineering Education.

    “[SolidWorks software] appears to be widely used in several areas of industry, and has been quickly gaining market share,” says the report. “It is user-friendly software with great tutorials and also has an excellent analysis tool. SolidWorks also offers a series of certification exams that can be integrated into our curriculum and used as an assessment tool for our ABET accreditation.”

    Although students and professors can generally use any software they choose, and they're encouraged to try them all, they are steadily gravitating toward SolidWorks. One important factor driving adoption, Murray explained, is the integrated simulation: “Students are converting models from other software products into SolidWorks so they can test them for stress, strain, fluid flow, thermal flow, and other real-world conditions. SolidWorks Simulation software gives them the answers they're looking for.”

    Simulation software is a key part of the students' work developing vehicles for engineering competitions such as Formula SAE, NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race, and SAE Baja.

    “SolidWorks makes it easy to develop the frame, from sketching the wireframe in space, transforming lines into pipes, assessing the mass, and performing simulations to optimize performance and safety,” said senior Tyler Farmer of the Formula SAE team. “We don't want to race a tank, so the car has to be as light and sleek as it can be but also withstand forces from wind, cornering, acceleration, deceleration and potential rollover. The tutorials in SolidWorks and online have really helped.”

    (Pitt State has been selected as host site for the 2011 Baja SAE Kansas engineering design competition, which will bring thousands of competitors and spectators to the city of Pittsburg next spring.)

    Students in Pittsburg State's part design and mold design courses take advantage of SolidWorks' powerful embedded mold tools, according to Paul Herring, associate professor of plastics engineering technology. These tools enable students to easily design snap fits and lip-and-groove joints; check draft and wall thickness; create parting lines, parting surfaces, shutoff surfaces, mold cavities, and mold cores; and, via macros, build mold bases in a single click with all required screws, nuts, pins, bushings, and plates.

    “Although the consensus is that SolidWorks is easier to use and learn all around, there's no arguing about the breadth of the mold tools,” Herring said, noting that his students have used them in creating thermoformed waterproof cases, water conservation systems, and a hands-free device for removing surgical gloves.

    SolidWorks also interoperates with the university's 3D printers, enabling students to quickly move from a SolidWorks virtual model to physical prototypes, to a mold, and finally to a forged, plastic, or machined product. And by offering software certifications such as Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) and Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP), SolidWorks helps students prove their proficiency with industry tools. “These certifications are valuable for a resume and put students firmly on a path of lifelong learning,” said Herring.

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

    We just returned from SolidWorks World 2011 last week in San Antonio, an event that we always look forward to because it gives us the opportunity to reconnect with our readers, SolidWorks employees, partners, and users. The overall tone of this year's event and its attendees were noticeably upbeat compared with the past couple of years.

    Over the course of the next several weeks we'll cover what we saw and heard throughout the course of the conference - new products announced and demonstrated by DS SolidWorks and its partners; discussions we had with SolidWorks executives; and our perception of the general direction of the company and its technologies. For now, though, we wanted to focus on an area that from the beginning has been one of the core philosophies of the company - the importance of education. (Therefore, the reasoning behind including the two announcements above) The role of education and its integral nature in the SolidWorks ecosystem
    is evident by the company's ongoing commitment to it. The company must be doing something right because it announced during the conference that as of November 2010 it had sold 1,000,000 software licenses to educational institutions since the company began selling software in 1995.

    Of the many SolidWorks folks we spoke with during the conference, we were fortunate enough to spend some time with one of our favorites, Marie Planchard, director of world education markets for DS SolidWorks, about SolidWorks' role and commitment to education.

    She works directly with educational institutions including middle schools, high schools, technical and vocational schools, as well as colleges and universities. Her job is to communicate with students, teachers, and mentors to better understand what is needed to advance and enhance design and engineering education. It has been really amazing to witness what SolidWorks has done in the past and continues to do today to improve technical education, as well as how this sector continues to grow (exponentially, according to Ms. Planchard).

    When asked how SolidWorks is used in education, Ms. Planchard responded, “Our software has educational editions that offer similar features to our premium edition that include visualization, linear and non-linear simulation, flow simulation, motion, stress analysis and sustainability tools. This helps schools like Assabet Valley (who has been featured in Let's Go Design Project 2) learn design concepts through CAD software.”

    According to Ms. Planchard, the primary motivation for getting SolidWorks into classrooms is, “Ultimately, we want to help students become better prepared for the job market and enable a larger workforce of skilled designers. We want to continue to inspire students of technology, giving them a broader understanding of what engineers do and why math and science are so relevant.”

    SolidWorks Education Edition is a comprehensive CAD teaching tool that features software plus a full curriculum and interactive courseware. SolidWorks Education Edition is an all-inclusive resource for teaching 3D mechanical CAD, visualization, design validation, and data management.

    For schools, SolidWorks provides a whole series curriculum. It produces guides for students and teachers in 10 different languages. This curriculum includes a set of pre-prepared projects like designing a windmill or a wooden bridge. These projects involve an assortment of design skills including those completed outside of the software like drawing, drafting and pencil skills. It also teaches a course to educators on the software, curriculum and projects. Through its partnership program, professors can write textbooks and other educational materials.

    We applaud and admire the ongoing educational efforts of SolidWorks as a committed organization and Ms. Planchard as a devoted, enthusiastic individual and proponent, and fully support their ongoing efforts in educating tomorrow's design engineers.

    The Week's Top 5

    At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

    In a newly released report, “Working with Multi-CAD? Overcome the Engineering Collaboration Bottleneck,” Aberdeen Group finds that with improvements to multi-CAD environments, top companies release 90% of their designs on time, and with higher quality, while reducing development costs by 31%, and development time by 32%. As companies prepare for an economic recovery, but likely have fewer resources, they must find ways to work smarter. Getting the most out of existing CAD data is one of the ways they can accomplish that. The study describes the capabilities needed to achieve these time savings by overcoming the
    challenges of working with multi-CAD data. A complimentary copy of this report available at:

    Catalog Data Solutions (CDS) announced that StainlessDrains.com has selected its online catalog and CAD download solution. StainlessDrains.com manufactures environmentally friendly stainless steel drainage system products including Sanitary Area Drains, Floor Drains, Trench Drains, Floor Sinks, Trap Drains, Cleanouts, P-traps and Accessories. “We realized that the internet has changed the buying process - our customers now often research and select products online even before talking to any supplier. Therefore our website has to be found and then make it real easy to find the right product. Once the product is found the
    downloadable CAD models save customers time and get our product designed in,” said Shelia Heller, Owner and VP Sales and Marketing, StainlessDrains.com.

    Dassault Systèmes and ACT, its exclusive Northern Europe VAR for the CATIA ICEM Shape software portfolio, announced new software licensing options that enable ICEM Surf and CATIA ICEM Shape Design users to cater for peaks in their work-loads. With the new licensing arrangements, customers are able to “borrow” a software license from the master license file and to take it off-site. So, for example, a user of the ICEM Surf 3D modeling software suite could “borrow” a license for the ICEM Surf Real-time Renderer (RTR) module and use it on a customer site for a design review meeting. During the time it is being borrowed
    from the License Server, the RTR license is attached to the remote machine. In addition, new software rental facilities have been introduced that enable ICEM Surf users to rent individual software modules for the time needed to complete a special project or to cater for a peak in their workload. An example here could be a vehicle safety analysis project as part of an overall vehicle development program. The user could rent the ICEM Surf Safety Analysis module for the time needed to complete the specific safety analysis project.

    SpaceClaim announced product enhancements to SpaceClaim 2011 -- the company's seventh release of its software. New capabilities in SpaceClaim 2011 range from increasingly accessible surfacing, assembly, and model preparation enhancements to strengthened sheet metal and CAD interoperability features. Highlights include:
  • New modeling capabilities continue to make SpaceClaim the fastest tool for part and assembly design, including improved surface modeling, freeform sketching, and ability to work with symmetry.
  • SpaceClaim has added a new capability to select faces by area and greatly expedite volume extraction for CFD and mold design.
  • New sheet metal capabilities help engineers explore a broader array of features used in sheet metal production.
  • Mesh data can now be directly reused to make 3D models, and enhanced translators support many new CAD releases.
  • The TraceParts content library is now provided as a free online service for all users, and customers with floating licenses can borrow them for offline use.
  • Numerous improvements in documentation and customization capabilities make it easier to deploy SpaceClaim to engineering teams worldwide.

  • Riding the wave of enterprise mobility, CadFaster announced its CadFaster|Collaborate online software tool for the real-time annotation and co-viewing of 3D CAD models. CadFaster|Collaborate is the first online solution for rendering large 3D models on a mobile operating system with full details and components in real-time. CadFaster|Collaborate was specifically developed to dramatically increase collaboration, productivity and effectiveness for Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), mechanical and plant design firms seeking the fast reading and smooth handling of complex and large CAD data files. The tool is
    distinguished by its ability to allow distribution, annotation, and real-time co-viewing of diverse 3D designs using portable executable files that include CadFaster's 3D engine, and according to the company, the fastest and most efficient 3D viewer on the market.

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
    MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
    Email Contact or 719.221.1867.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.